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Today’s energy was devoted to baking a cake for my special boy’s first birthday tomorrow. (He’s my special boy because I attended at his birth.)  His mom will bake a traditional cake but I made a gluten-free one for those of us who don’t eat gluten.  Mostly that would be Miranda.  Here’s an interesting recipe from that worked quite well, with my variations in parenthesis.  I used a mocha glaze for frosting.


For coconut layer cake

* 1 3/4 cup almond flour (not almond meal)
* 2 tablespoons coconut flour (I used three heaping tablespoons)
* 10 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
* 1 tablespoon coconut or golden rum (I used vanilla extract)
* 2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
* 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar (I used a heaping 1/4 tsp and added a tsp of baking powder)
* 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


Preheat oven to 350F. Line bottoms of cake pans with parchment paper.

In large bowl, whisk together almond and coconut flours.

In bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg yolks at high speed until pale yellow and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to moderately low and beat in rum and all but 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar. Scrape down bowl, then increase speed to high and beat until pale and thick, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low and gradually add almond and coconut flour mixture, scraping down bowl and folding in last of flour by hand. Set aside.

In clean dry bowl of electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites on moderate speed until very foamy, about 1 minute. Beat in cream of tartar, salt, and remaining 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar. Increase speed to moderately high and beat until whites hold stiff peaks, about 2 minutes. (My peaks didn’t stiffen but cake came out fine.) Fold 1 cup beaten egg whites into yolk mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining whites. Divide batter between pans, smoothing tops, and bake until layers are golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Invert pans onto wire racks and cool completely, at least 1 hour. Run knife around cake layers to loosen, invert onto rack, and peel off the parchment.

This made two 9-inch layers.

Chef’s notes: To keep the plate clean while frosting the cake, tuck 4 (3-inch-wide) strips of parchment paper under the edge of the cake. Pull the parchment off just before serving.


I have created a foodie.  I realized this when she was only 3.  She ate, and enjoyed, things like cooked mushrooms.  She loves sophisticated things like dark chocolate, cooked spinach, balsamic vinegar on her salad (Straight!  And she dunks each piece of lettuce and makes horrible faces and loves every minute of it.) and blood oranges.

Today we baked zucchini muffins from a gluten free recipe I developed.  I let her eat one of these very healthy muffins right before dinner–they weren’t done till then–so I knew there wouldn’t be much interest in dinner.  She ate mostly pomegranate kernels.  Then her dad made tea and she wanted some too.  She choose Roast-a-Rama, a Celestial Seasonings herbal blend.  She wound up dropping pomegranate  kernels in the tea and eating them with a spoon.  It was surprisingly delicious.  A culinary genius.  I hope she’ll cook for me when I’m old and feeble.

Here’s the recipe for the muffins, in case you’re hungry.

Zucchini muffins (GF) (12/6/09)

1/2 C coconut flour
1 1/2 C other GF flour
1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cream of tartar
2/3 C xylitol

2 large zuch pureed
2 large eggs
3/4 C canola oil
1 t vanilla extract

Add 3/4 C chopped walnuts, if desired
Add 1 C chocolate chips if desired

Divide into muffin cups.  Bake at 325 for 3o minutes for mini muffins, 35 minutes for full sized muffins.

The coconut flour is kind of a specialty item found in health food stores and worth finding. (Or try  It’s loaded with fiber and protein.  You can use wheat flour for these I guess, but get the coconut flour; it’s awesome!

Xylitol, a healthy alternative to sugar, is becoming more mainstream.  It has a very low glycemic load so it doesn’t spike your blood sugar.  It can be used to replace sugar almost one-for-one so it’s easy to cook with, although it is a little sweeter so things turn out sweeter (darn!).  It’s not cheap but it’s good for your teeth so try it.